It's hard to know what to do with a poinsettia after Christmas. During the Christmas season, they are a beautiful addition to all the liturgical festivities...then in mid-January you have all these dying flowers in conspicuously red and green pots, which are usually disposed of in the dead of night when no one is around. A sad ending! But for one lucky poinsettia, things turned out very differently. A few years ago, Sr. Mary Jeremiah nabbed one of these wilting poinsettias after Christmas and determined to keep it alive. Like the servant in the Gospel who hoed and watered the fig tree for another year to see if it would eventually bear fruit, Sister carefully tended her poinsettia and saved it from several attempts to be thrown out. The first couple of years, the poinsettia flourished, but its leaves remained stubbornly green. However, this year Sr. Mary Jeremiah's patience finally paid off, and the leaves are slowly turning a brilliant shade of red!
Sr. Mary Jeremiah in the library with her poinsettia and our community librarian, Sr. Mary Annunciata, another firm believer in the little poinsettia that could!
Being nuns, we of course draw a moral from all this gardening. So often our good efforts seem to come to nothing. But grace often works slowly, imperceptibly in our lives, so that one day we realize things have changed without realizing the exact moment when the change came! It's like the seed in another parable--the farmer plants it, and then he sleeps and rises, every day noticing the seed had grown, but he does not know how or when it actually happened. May we continue to be patient with ourselves and others, so that the seeds (and green leaves) of grace make reach their fulfillment in due time!